Ecuadorian government and indigenous groups reach agreements following talks


QUITO, Oct 14 (Reuters) – Ecuador’s government and indigenous community leaders reached an agreement on Friday, ending months-long talks that led to dozens of agreements to implement economic concessions and environmental agreements, which President Guillermo Lasso concluded to put an end to the deadly demonstrations of June.

Lasso, a former conservative banker, began negotiations in mid-July to determine how to implement his promises, which included price controls, debt cancellation and policies for the oil and mining sectors, among others. .

The government has concluded 218 agreements with indigenous communities, he added.

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However, Leonidas Iza, president of the indigenous organization CONAIE, warned that the agreements were only partial progress, with most falling short of the demands set out during the June protests.

Protests rocked Ecuador for more than two weeks from June 13, killing at least eight people and severely affecting the country’s oil industry, its main source of income, forcing immediate cuts in fuel prices and bringing the government at negotiating tables. Read more

“The dialogues were not the will (of the government), but the pressure and strength of the people on the streets,” Iza said after the talks ended.

A key deal will see the introduction of a fuel price differentiation mechanism to ensure subsidies only benefit the most vulnerable sectors of society, not those who do not need them, said the government.

The talks also made it possible to define a moratorium for 15 oil blocks and to suspend the granting of certain mining concessions until a law establishes a prior and informed consultation of the neighboring communities.

The talks also resulted in agreements to cancel some debts of small farmers and a socialized tariff for telephone and Internet services.

“Negotiations have proven to be more productive in reaching common solutions than protests,” said Ecuadorian government minister Francisco Jimenez.

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Reporting by Alexandra Valencia Writing by Oliver Griffin; edited by Diane Craft

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